Printed Collections: Pamphlet Collection

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 106 PC/06
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
      English , French , German , Italian
  • Physical Description
      22,000+ titles

Scope and Content

The catalogued Pamphlet Collection comprises over 12,000 titles dating from approximately 1830 to the present. The Pamphlet Collection consists of printed material less than 60 pages in length and includes government policies, reports, annual reports and campaigning material, primary law, including Bills and Acts. The subject material of the collection reflects and enriches the wide range of topics held elsewhere in the Women's Library.The topics covered include: English fiction, children's stories, poetry, women's organisations, feminism, role of women in society - UK and abroad, nursing, sex discrimination law, divorce law, employment, occupations, careers, equal opportunities, labour law, pension law, social security, taxation, housing, health, pregnancy, abortion, birth control, domestic violence, mothers, one-parent families, children, family life, housekeeping, religion, ordination, arts, costume, suffrage.Organisations include Equal Opportunities Commission, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital, National Union of Suffragettes, National Society for Women's Suffrage, US Women's Bureau, American National Red Cross, Union of Jewish Women, National Union of Townswomen's Guilds, National Federation of Women's Institutes, Fawcett Society, National Council for the Unmarried Mother and Her Child, British Federation of University Women, Association of University Women Teachers, Divorce Law Reform Union.Most of the material is in English, but there are also pamphlets in other languages, such as Italian, German and French.The pamphlets are arranged in two sections - one for standard sized pamphlets and one for oversized pamphlets.

The 'UDC Pamphlet Collection' [Universal Dewey Decimal Classification]

In addition to the main Pamphlet Collection is the 'UDC Pamphlet Collection.' The UDC collection was the first pamphlet collection created by the Library and consists of approximately 10,000 pamphlets dating from mid nineteenth to mid twentieth centuries, covering all subjects. As the collection was gradually acquired during the Library's first 20 years of life, it was arranged by subject, using the Universal Decimal Classification system. The pamphlets were primarily deposited by organisations and individuals, although some purchases were made. There is a finding aid kept with the collection but the collection was never catalogued and therefore remained a hidden resource within the Library for more than 80 years. Unsurprisingly other libraries did not collect most of these pamphlets. In 2007 as part of a cataloguing funding bid preliminary sampling of the collection against Copac (the merged online catalogues of 24 university research libraries in the UK, plus the British Library and the National Library of Scotland) found that over 60% of the UDC pamphlets were not listed in these major research collections. This is a very significant level of unique printed material.Cataloguing of the UDC collection started in 2007 and as the pamphlets are catatogued, they are transferred to the main pamphlet collection mentioned above. As at 2009 the collection was partially catalogued and The Library was seeking additional funds to complete the project.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Women's Library was founded in 1926 as the Library of the London Society for Women's Service, later known as the Fawcett Society. They ran the Library until 1977, when it moved to City Polytechnic, later known as London Guildhall University, and is now part of London Metropolitan University. The Women's Library moved to new premises in 2002, comprising a reading room, exhibition hall, lecture theatre, office and activity spaces. By 2008 The Women's Library was an Accredited Museum and the Archive Museum and Library collections were awarded Designated Status by the Department of Culture Media & Sport, as being of national and international importance.

For detailed corporate histories and biographies for the following see The Women's Library Archive and Museum Catalogue

* The Women's Library; 1926-fl.2008

* Friends of The Women's Library; 1978-fl.2008

See the biography for

* Douie; Vera (1894-1979); Librarian, The Fawcett Library

* Pankhurst; Rita Jacqueline [née Eldon] (1927-); academic, librarian and campaigner


They are arranged using the classification scheme Dewey Decimal Classification 22.

Access Information


This collection is available for research. Readers are advised to contact The Women's Library in advance of their first visit.

Acquisition Information

Mainly by deposit, a proportion (primarily academic titles) by purchase.

Other Finding Aids

The Printed Collections can be consulted via an online catalogue available at Additional guides in the form of Source Notes are available online.

Custodial History

Pamphlets have primarily been deposited by organisations and individuals. Some purchases have been made. Pamphlets have been collected since the inception of the Library in 1926.

The UDC Pamphlet Collection (approx 10,000 titles) was gradually acquired during the Library's first 20 years of life and was arranged by subject, using the Universal Decimal Classification system. Later acquisitions were catalogued but it was only in 2007 that cataloguing of the UDC Collection began.

Related Material

Additional pamphlets are also held within archives held at The Women's Library.